‘Preacher’ Episode 1.3 “The Possibilities” (8 out of 10) Created by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg & Sam Catlin; Starring Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun & Ruth Negga; Sundays on AMC.
As “Preacher” is evolving, we’re starting to see the toll that Jesse Custer’s (Dominic Cooper) newfound abilities are taking on him. Right now, he’s somewhere between Uncle Ben Parker’s philosophy that “with great power comes great responsibility,” and Lord Acton’s notion that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Being the flawed but good man that he is, Custer is starting to show us that the true test of a person’s character is seeing what they’ll do when they get a little bit of power.
Jesse (Almost) Goes With Tulip
In keeping with the show’s breadcrumb-like storytelling, we get a few little tidbits of info regarding Tulip’s (Ruth Negga) and Jesse’s history. Tulip secures an address of a past associate, who apparently left her and Jesse at the scene of a violent crime, which persuades Jesse to forget his better judgment and hit the road with her. Before we get into this storyline, it’s a moral imperative to mention the brief glimpse that we got of a man in a white suit towards the beginning of the episode. While I was thinking that the two blokes that Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) carved up with a chainsaw last week were going to be the show’s version of the Grail, Tulip’s contact mentions Grail Industries right before she meets the aforementioned man in a white suit, who is most likely Herr Starr. Once again, the show has done a great job of placing these small, introductory scenes to its main villains—we first see him seated in a dark, makeshift theater where, from the sound of it, attendees are watching a snuff film. With all three of the series’ nastiest of bad guys introduced, it’s starting to look bleak for Jesse Custer, but oh so good for everyone watching the show. Now, back to the road trip.
At Tulip’s mention of a man named Carlos, Jesse finally gives in to her demands. From the flashbacks that we get, Carlos’s decision to leave Tulip and Jesse behind resulted in things going south between them. The more we see Tulip and Jesse together, the more their chemistry starts to spark and sizzle. Tulip’s attempts to pull Jesse back into the life that they once lived together are motivated by her sense of survival—every time she tells Jesse that she needs him, it goes much deeper than reclaiming a partner in crime.
The turning point of this road trip comes when Donnie Schenk (Derek Wilson) corners Jesse in a gas station bathroom, looking for a bit of revenge on the man who broke his arm and made him squeal like a bunny. Jesse makes Donnie put his own gun in his mouth, but doesn’t go through with what could have easily been construed as a suicide. Again, we’re seeing a side of Jesse that proves he’s no saint, but that he’s not a cold-blooded killer. After this encounter, Jesse bails on the whole trip, leaving Tulip behind. This scene was a great indicator of Jesse’s chaotic good alignment. He’s fine with breaking this guy’s arm and forcing him to put a gun in his mouth, but at the end of the day, he can still find value in the life of a scumbag.
Cassidy Kills Some Angels
Before Jesse takes off with Tulip, he uses Cassidy as a guinea pig for his mind control powers. After Jesse makes him hop around on one foot, admit that he likes Justin Bieber and fling himself into a wall, Cassidy establishes that Jesse has become a Jedi, and sees a future of unlimited possibilities. While we love Cassidy, and he seems decent enough for a bloodsucker, it would be too hard to imagine him trying to take advantage of Jesse’s power.
We see hints of that already starting to develop as he tells Fiore (Tom Brooke) and DeBlanc (Anatol Yusef) that he’ll try and help them in their quest to remove the paranormal presence from Jesse. At this point, Cassidy is either trying to get these two celestial cops off of Jesse’s back, or he’s really looking to sell his friend out. The delivery of this sudden alliance felt forced—almost like the writers were worried that not enough was going on. After Cassidy has killed them twice, it’s hard to believe that Fiore and DeBlanc would trust him, and if Cassidy was really interested in helping them, it would mean that he would lose access to Jesse’s powers.
This episode didn’t feel as tight as the past two. The performances continue to be spectacular, however, so it’s not that big of a problem. The show’s teases to the bigger conflicts that are in store have created a huge sense of anticipation. We have no idea what will happen next week, and that’s one of the reasons it’s been so fun to watch “Preacher.” It’s not really playing by any rules, so each week holds the promise of something completely new.